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Is smoking cannabis bad for your lungs? Is a joint more harmful than a cigarette? Are there any positives to be had from smoking cannabis? Some of the responses to these questions are to be expected and others are fairly surprising. Let’s begin with the studies…
Studies that advocate the benefits of smoking cannabis
In 2012, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study that offered strangely positive news for people who choose to smoke cannabis on a regular basis. The results of this particular study seem to suggest that smoking one joint a day, for as long as seven years, doesn’t adversely affect lung function.
In fact, the study goes one step further, indicating that smoking cannabis may even improve lung function, simply because the action involved in inhalation gives the chest muscles the exact kind of exercise needed to stay in shape.
The diaphragm is, after all, nothing more than a thin skeletal muscle that requires regular activity in order to work as efficiently as possible, just like all other muscles.
So, how does all this compare to smoking tobacco and why aren’t there any studies out there that highlight the benefits to be had from chest exercises, induced from smoking tobacco-filled cigarettes?
Let’s take a look…
1 cigarette vs 1 joint
Smoking a joint isn’t the same as smoking a cigarette. At least, that’s what the specialist journals and dedicated researchers are telling us. According to materials provided by BMJ Specialty Journals, a single cannabis joint has the same effect on the lungs as smoking up to five cigarettes in one go.
This ongoing study, which looked at respiratory health, takes into account the findings gathered from 339 adults, up to the age of 70, who were categorized into four different study groups: cannabis-only smokers, tobacco-only smokers, cannabis and tobacco smokers, and 100% non-smokers.
The shortness of breath after smoking weed that many people experience is touched upon in the study. However, while findings revealed that the cannabis-only smokers complained of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and phlegm, it was only the adults smoking tobacco who developed the progressive and crippling disease known as emphysema.
But why is this difference so important?
In short, because we’re trying to build an industry that believes in the wellness benefits of the cannabis plant and we need consumers and medical professionals alike to distinguish the wood from the trees.
Increasing our faith in medicinal cannabis
There are lots of studies and sources of anecdotal evidence available, dedicated to presenting cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceutical medicine. But the question, what does weed do to your lungs?, is one that is regularly posed by medical cannabis opposers and one that, no doubt, keeps consumers wary of rolling on a regular basis.
Another study, led by Mark Pletcher of the University of California, San Francisco, goes some way toward easing this worry.
Its findings help to reduce the concern that daily cannabis inhalation could generate negative, long-term implications for pulmonary health.
The study, which looked at more than 5,000 adults over a 20-year period, concluded that smoking up to one joint per day doesn’t appear to decrease lung function and that, in fact, it can even increase lung airflow rates and lung volume.
The benefits of cannabis without needing to smoke
Whether you’re an advocate for cannabis inhalation or not, one important factor about the cannabis industry at present is non-debatable: there are many ways to consume cannabis without having to smoke it.
So, if pictures of smokers’ lungs, before and after, fill you with dread, remember that you can still enjoy the benefits of cannabis, unlike tobacco, without lighting up.
Licensed dispensaries across the country now carry cannabis-infused topicals, edibles, suppositories, gels, tinctures, oils, concentrates, capsules and who knows what other kinds of products might next be on the list. Product variety is always on the increase, available to both recreational and medical users.
Indeed, we’d encourage you to experiment with cannabis consumption methods in order to find the exact type of cannabis product that best suits your needs, your body, and your lifestyle. If you need any help in navigating your way through the many cannabis product options available, feel free to contact our team directly. We’re here to help.